Ons Jabeur will 'try to catch up' with world number one Iga Swiatek

By Piers EdwardsBBC Sport Africa
Ons Jabeur with the Berlin Open trophy
Ons Jabeur has won WTA tournaments in Madrid and Berlin this year

Ons Jabeur hopes to chase down world number one Iga Swiatek after moving up to third in the WTA rankings.

Tunisian Jabeur picked up a third career singles title at the weekend, lifting the Berlin Open trophy.

But the 27-year-old has some way to go to catch Swiatek, the French Open champion who is on a 35-match winning streak and has almost double the number of rankings points.

"I'm really, really glad it is paying off finally," said Jabeur.

The Berlin Open title followed the WTA 1000 event Jabeur won in Madrid last month and last year's success on grass in Birmingham.

She told BBC Sport Africa: "I have been trying to find solutions to improve every time and try to push myself. And to see that the numbers are following, it's really important for me.

"Now I move on to the next goal, to be number two in the world and stop Iga maybe one day. She's a little bit far off, but I'll try to catch up."

Jabeur says she has "great confidence" in the build-up to Wimbledon following her victory over Belinda Bencic in Germany on Sunday.

She took the opening set 6-3, as Bencic injured her left ankle in the final game, and the Swiss was eventually forced to retire with Jabeur leading 2-1 in the second set.

"At the beginning of the season I said I want more titles - and I hope there are more titles to come," she added.

"I'm pretty happy and that gives me a lot of confidence to be ready for Wimbledon for sure."

Playing with Serena 'a great honour'

Jabeur's climb to third equals the highest singles ranking for any African, male or female - matching the spot reached by South Africa's Amanda Coetzer in November 1997.

She is now teaming up with one of the sport's greatest players at the Eastbourne International.

The Tunisian will partner 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the women's doubles at the tournament in Sussex, as the 40-year-old returns to the tour for the first time since last August.

"I'm glad that she picked me, you know it's unbelievable," Jabeur said.

"I'm very happy to be part of her journey and her comeback - and playing with such a legend is really inspiring for me.

"I will do my best to not miss any shots, but you know it's just a really great honour to play next to her - it's incredible.

"Anything she asks me to do, I'll do it for sure."

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